On October 9, 2017, at Kokopo, East New Britain Province, detectives from the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate in Port Moresby arrested and charged Professor Philip Siaguru, aged 55 of Kwapun village, Wewak District, East Sepik Province, with 12 counts of abuse of office under section 92 of the Criminal Code Act.
Professor Siaguru was the VC of UNRE when he committed the offences.
It is alleged that between 2009 and 2014, Siaguru by virtue of his office as vice chancellor and chairman of the University’s tender committee, in excess of his committee’s threshold of K500,000, exceeded his authority and awarded 12 contracts for various building projects ranging between K800,000 to K16 million at the University.
“The total value of these contracts stand at K41.8 million,” says the fraud directorate in a statement.
“The projects were funded by the Independent State of Papua New Guinea through Department of National Planning under its Public Investment Program (PIP).
“The contracts were awarded without following the established PIP guidelines and as well in breach of the Public Finance Management Act.
“The awarding of contracts bypassed the East New Britain Provincial Tender Board (PSTB), including the Central Supply Tenders Board (CSTB) and even the authority of the National Executive Council (NEC) tender value of K10 million and above.”
The NFACD said Professor Siaguru held a position of trust and authority. His qualification and his standing in the profession and being a highly learned person, would have exercised caution and restraint in dealing with such government business transactions within the confines of the established laws and regulations.
“Unfortunately he chose to do otherwise.
“His conduct was that of criminal negligence and omission, hence abuse of this office and authority.
“He was interviewed at the Provincial Police Headquarters Kokopo and later charged.”
Siaguru was placed at the Kokopo Police Station cells after the arrest procedure and later released on K2,000 bail.
Investigations are continuing and more arrests are expected to be made soon on the allegation of misappropriation of public funds.